Pressing receivers worked for long periods for Washington's defensive backs.
One of the defining features of a defensive scheme that had a lot of early success in Denver was press coverage in the secondary. Washington's defensive backs routinely pressed, bumped and hurried Broncos wideouts all over the field.
For the most part, it managed to frustrate Manning and his offense. What made the scheme possible was the surprising willingness of players like Hall and rookie David Amerson to be so physical.
Both players are usually more naturally comfortable with off-coverage techniques. But they adapted their games and roughed up the likes of Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas—no easy task.
It took the Broncos a long time to adjust. When they did, the big gains they created were from screen passes run underneath the man coverage on the outside, or crossing patterns run into an exposed middle.
But based on how well it worked early on, a press-based scheme with a few tweaks, could be the best way to improve Washington's pass defense.